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BMW K1200S

While not really an all-new motorcycle, the 2010 K1300 is based on BMWs previous K1200S, the larger engine capacity and multiple upgrades ensure this isn’t just a make over of last year’s model, even if it appears almost identical to the untrained eye. The upper fairing section is slightly narrower; the cockpit trim is new, while the speedometer and tachometer have been redesigned. New side fairings, new LED taillight, and a more compact muffler complete the visual changes, with the big news happening under the vast expanse of bodywork.

Quoting figures of 175 bhp @ 9,250rpm and 103 ft-lbs of torque at 8,250rpm. It’s no surprise that the new K1300S is packing some serious German muscle when you twist the throttle. These figures relate to around a 7 ft-lb increase in torque from as low as two thousand rpm all the way to eight thousand rpm, although without the old bike to compare it wasn’t possible to really notice the difference. Both bikes have enough power to send you to jail in less time than it takes to write this sentence, and with top speeds on the north side of 165mph, these figures are a tad academic when riding on a public road. What this incredible amount of power and torque does though, is make the new K1300S even more effortless to ride at any speed than its predecessor. Want to overtake, go faster, or shoot some adrenaline through your veins? Well, just twist the throttle anytime you like and hang on.

To gain this extra capacity and power the original bike’s 1157cc displacement was increased to 1293cc. Enlarging the pistons by 1mm and lengthening the stroke by 5.3mm achieved this substantial increase, and these new larger, lightweight, high-compression pistons feature an extra short piston skirt and thinner rings. Every thing else inside the compact motor appears the same, and it remains one of the most sophisticated inline fours in production.

One thing that both journalists and customers complained with the K1200 range was the fueling. I had a long term K on test and had it back at the dealer on more than one occasion to try and smooth things out. It did get a lot better, and I’m happy to announce the new K1300S suffered none of these problems. Some of my peers were experiencing a small fueling issue coming off a closed throttle during our test which I talked about in my K1300GT review, but try as hard as I might, I never really noticed it on my particular unit. This is due to an all-new engine mapping system aimed at improving partial-load situations, and kudos to BMW for both listening to the complaints levied at them, and for fixing them. The bike now uses dual throttle cables, replacing the single one previously used, and revised exhaust valve timing. There is also a new metal idle control valve to replace the previous plastic version, and a re-designed airbox and ram-air ducts all revamped to help improve the fueling situation.

Anti lock brakes have been with us for a long time now, and the BMW system has come a long way. I have very vivid memories of putting the system to the test on an old “flying brick” back in the mid eighties and wondering if I would lose my lunch or a few fillings when it went into it’s manic lurching behavior after I yanked on the lever at 80mph. I’m please to say the new system is nearly flawless, with little annoying pulsing when it’s activated. It is also possible to turn it off if you don’t want to use it. This operation has to be performed at a standstill, and the system is always on unless you turn it off.

Anti-Spin Control (ASC) is used to stop the rear wheel from spinning in a straight line. It also stops the bikes from pulling wheelies, which is probably a good thing with the amount of power the BMW has on tap. Unlike the ABS, the ASC can be turned on or off on the fly and is a safety feature I’m sure all bikes will come with one day. It mustn’t be confused with traction control that we are used to in racing, but think about pulling away from a traffic light and getting in a diesel spill or some stray oil. These situations, or applying too much power leaving a gravel parking lot, can spell disaster on two wheels without ASC.

Finally, with my report card reading a passing grade, we came to the ESA II. This is an electronic suspension adjustment system. While it’s not new to BMW, this is the latest version from the German manufacturer. I should point out that this is an option and doesn’t come standard on the $15,259 base model K1300S. It does come on the premium package that includes the ABS and the ASC that will set you back an additional $2,250. Basically, at the push of a button located on the left handlebar, you can set the suspension to one of three modes: Sport, Normal or Comfort. Each of these positions has a choice of three settings to give nine different pre sets. It’s not a new system, as most of you will be familiar with it from the previous K series, but it has undergone some fine-tuning to make it even better. Now, in sport mode the settings are a little more aggressive, and in comfort mode they are more relaxed. This allows them to be noticeably different from the normal mode that sits in the middle.

The K1300S uses the same frame, but the front Duolever suspension uses a lighter aluminum control arm for more sensitivity. I am a big fan of BMW’s radical front end. The lack of dive under heavy braking is very comforting when coming to a rapid halt from high speed, and I have never had any problems at extreme lean angles. Some people obviously did complain, so the spring weights were firmed and the trail reduced by a fairly substantial eighth of inch. Taking part in the usual Journalist GP out on the deserted Californian roads, both front and rear ends get two thumbs up from the Big Nosed one.

Ever the quirkiest company in the two-wheeled world, BMW also has a racer style quickshift system this year. Allowing clutchless up shifts at full throttle, the way you do on a race bike, it is an option that comes directly from the street/race HP2 Sport. I used it all the time and it works flawlessly from short shifting to running hard through the gears to maximum rpm. Saving you precious time on your up shifts. At the very least it should get you to the coffee shop on Sunday mornings a few seconds ahead of your buddies.

Ultra fast, slick, and comfortable, BMW got it right with the new K1300S. No more niggling fuel injection issues and more of what made the old bike so popular. Wind protection is excellent, and typical BMW options like heated handlebar grips and electric gear hook ups make it as versatile as you could want for extended riding duties. Heck. It even comes with conventionally operating turn signals for the first time. What more could you ask for?

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